Collins toughs it out at wet Billericay 10km

Echo: Runners get under way at the Billericay 10km. Picture courtsey of   www.sportsphotosuk.co.uk Runners get under way at the Billericay 10km. Picture courtsey of www.sportsphotosuk.co.uk

ENFIELD & Haringey’s Shaun Collins was a commanding victor in terrible conditions at the Billericay 10km.

The 22-year-old was last year’s Southern 3,000m steeplechase champion and he had to make full use of his skills over the water jump.

Large sections of the Billericay course were flooded because of heavy rain on Sunday morning with athletes having to fun through roads that were more like rivers in some places.

Given the tough conditions, Collins’ time of 32m 29s was an impressive effort and he finished well ahead of second placed James Ellis (Clapham, 33m 52s) and third place Tom Heslop (Victoria Park, 34m 07s).

New Basildon AC signing Billy Parker-Brown finished in fifth place in 35m 48s, five seconds ahead of team-mate, and first under-20 finisher, Stephen Strange.

Thurrock Harriers’ David Johnson was ninth in 37m 33s and Southend AC teenager Ben Franklin 10th (37m 57s).

Franklin was the first under-17 athlete to finish, while at the other end of the age scale, his fellow Southend AC athlete Peter Binns won the V65 category (41m 15s).

Castle Point Joggers’ John Reynolds took the V70 prize, finishing in 49m 56s.

A Castle Point Joggers club spokesman said: “To run under 50 minutes aged 70 is a great achievement”.

The first CPJ runner over the line was Richard Bonham who finished in 29th place and yet again went under the 40 minute barrier (39m 48s).

A host of Benfleet RC athletes also raced with Reece Robinson and Nick Rankin having a good battle to claim the honour of first club member over the line, with Robinson (39m 37s) just edging Rankin (39m 41s).

John Gould wasn’t too far behind in 39m 57s).

Southend’s Glen Taylor (24th V55) posted his second-fastest 10k of the season with 48.20.

There was an equally dominant victor in the women’s race with Colchester Harriers’ Sarah Stradling finishing well clear in 37m 29s.

Next home was Havering Mayesbrook’s talented under-17 athlete Lydia Hallam, running her first 10km, who finished in 42m 15s and took the under-20 winner’s prize.

Thurrock Harriers’ Toni Noble was third in 42m 30s.

Southend AC’s new signing Joanne Baker’s 44m 37s was good enough to give her fourth FV35, while Castle Point Joggers’ Lisa Rieffel finished in a time of 47m 41s.

Ten Pitsea RC members braved the conditions and completed the course with Chris Reed continuing his excellent form to lead them home in 47m 24s.

He was closely followed by Jim Russell (48m 6s), John Tracey in (48m 37s) and Tim Shea (49m 28s). Mel Brady was first Pitsea lady home in 51m 43s. Other Pitsea finishers were Steve Beech (52m 01s), Helen Williams (54m 07s), Merv Beckwith (57m 03s), Mick Kennedy (57m 15s) and Keith Passingham (57m 37s).

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